No less than renowned Filipino orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jose Raul Canlas will perform the surgery on injured San Beda center Donald Tankoua once he returns to the country following a month-long stint with Team Philippines in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Red Lions team manager Jude Roque disclosed the news to FOX Sports during a phone interview on Saturday morning after the 6-foot-7 Tankoua sustained an anterior cruciate ligament tear on his right knee in San Beda’s 90-82 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College last Friday.
The power-playing Tankoua will be out for the remainder of the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tourney.
“Suki na namin siya (Canlas). Lahat ng injuries sa team before, siya na ang kinokunsulta. Kumbaga gamay na namin siya,” said Roque.
Dr. Canlas also performed the surgery on the injured shoulder of San Beda’s star guard Baser Amer last year.
“Basta may kinalaman sa buto ang injury, sa kanya kami talaga nagpapatingin.”
Roque said Canlas’ return to the country will depend on how the medal campaign of taekwondo bet Kirstie Alora will turn out. She is the last remaining Filipino hopeful in the Rio Games.
“Posibleng mas maaga. Kung wala ng Pilipinong nagko-compete, baka bumalik siya ng mas maaga,” said Roque. “Marami rin atang naghihintay sa kanya dito kaya baka mapaaga rin ang uwi nya.”
While he lamented the abrupt loss of Tankoua, whom he considers as the Red Lions’ lone legit center, Roque also opted to stay positive, convinced San Beda’s second-year coach Jamike Jarin still has ample time to make the necessary adjustments.
“We have to remain positive dahil mahaba pa naman ang season. May mga players naman kami na capable of stepping up,” said Roque. “Pero siyempre hindi naman maitatanggi na si Donald, malaking kawalan. Siya lang kasi ang legit na sentro namin.
“Buti na lang na nangyari ng medyo maaga so we can still adjust. Kung ano mang adjustments na pwedeng magawa ni coach Jamike, at least may panahon pa naman.”
Roque, however, could not help but rue the loss of Tankoua, who has thrived on his bigger role following the graduation of long-time San Beda import Ola Adeogun underscored by his impressive numbers of 15.7 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
“Parang siya rin ‘yung most important player namin,” noted Roque. “‘Yun ang fear namin from the start. But it’s part of the game. Nangyayari na lang talaga ‘yung ganun.”
Tankoua is expected to have at least six months of recovery and rehabilitation period. – Jerome Lagunzad
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